The Mary McDonald Music Series allows First Presbyterian Church to provide a rich variety of concerts for the Fort Smith community.
This music series is named in honor of our former organist, Mary McDonald. Mrs. McDonald was a member of First Presbyterian Church since childhood. She began her tenure as church organist in the 1950s and retired in 1996. She returned on several occasions as Interim Organist.
Mary McDonald’s contributions to Fort Smith and First Presbyterian Church were truly a legacy. Mary showed great integrity as she served with faith and commitment. Through her service Mary led many in the worship and service of our Lord. It is an honor and privilege for First Presbyterian Church to present the Mary McDonald Music Series. All events of the series are open to the public and free of charge.
With playing described as having “bracing virtuosity” (Chicago Classical Review) and being “fearless and extraordinary” (Amarillo-Globe News), Isabelle Demers has enraptured critics, presenters, and audience members around the globe. Her 2010 recital for the International Society of Organbuilders-American Institute of Organbuilders convention “left the entire congress in an atmosphere of ‘Demers fever’.” That same year, her performance at the Washington D.C. national convention of the American Guild of Organists caused the standing-room-only audience to call her back to the stage five times.
She has appeared in recital in Europe, Oman, Australia, New Zealand, and coast to coast in the United States and her home country of Canada. 2018-2019 season highlights include performances at the Maison Symphonique (Montreal, Québec), the Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg, Germany), City Hall (Stockholm, Sweden), the Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing, China), and Westminster Abbey (London, UK).
Dr. Demers is in continual demand by her fellow colleagues as witnessed by performances for numerous regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Institute of Organ Builders and International Society of Organbuilders, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and the Organ Historical Society.
Her first recording on the Acis label, The Old and the New, was met with critical acclaim. Fanfare Magazine called it “superbly produced”, a “clear, tightly focused recording”, and a “brilliantly played program.” Her second disc, featuring the organ works of Rachel Laurin, was released in June 2011, and her recording of Max Reger’s Seven Chorale-Fantasias in November 2012. Bach, Bull, and Bombardes (Pro Organo), was released in May 2013. In 2018, she appeared as solo organ accompanist in a recording of Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem with the Baylor University Choir, recorded at Duruflé’s church in Paris, also on the Acis label.
A native of Québec and a doctoral graduate of the Juilliard School, Dr. Demers is Organ Professor and Head of the Organ Program at Baylor University in Texas.
Isabelle Demers is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.